Paper Profits: Origami Meets Science

BY Arts Desk  March 5, 2009 at 3:11 PM EDT

There was a fascinating story Wednesday by NewsHour science editor Lea Winerman about a physicist, whose career path took an unusual turn to art. Robert Lang, who studies lasers, gave up his Silicon Valley job to concentrate full-time on his life lifelong artistic interest in origami.

“Now, he designs and folds pieces for collectors and art galleries, while contributing to a growing field of practical applications in space research, medical technology and other fields,” Winerman reported.

Lang has worked on designs for a folding telescope that could deploy in space, helping researchers fit a 100-meter wide telescope lens into in a three-meter wide rocket. He’s also working with a medical technology company to treat congestive heart failure with a device that could fit into a tube small enough to be inserted between two ribs, rather than through open heart surgery. It’s now in clinical trials.

“When you have a mathematical description of origami, of folding, it’s not only useful in the creation of art, but it’s also useful in the solution of other technological problems,” Lang told Winerman.

Link to the story right here and to a narrated slide show of some of Lang’s amazingly complex origami.